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TV channels tell EC that Karnataka poll dates news flash was not based on any ‘leak’

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Times Now says it wasn’t a ‘leak’ as the details given by informed sources were incorrect; Karnataka’s Suvarna News says it followed the former’s lead.

New Delhi: Television channels have told the Election Commission of India (EC) that the news flash on Karnataka election dates was not based on any ‘leak’.

While Bengaluru-based TV channel Suvarna News told the EC that it flashed the election dates taking a cue from Times Now, the latter claimed it had accessed information from ‘informed sources’, but it couldn’t be termed a leak as the information wasn’t entirely accurate.

“…Times Now news channel accessed the details from informed sources. Given that the information wasn’t entirely accurate it is obvious it wasn’t a leak,” the English news channel’s editor-in-chief Rahul Shivshankar said in an official response to the EC’s letter.

Suvarna News said it has no sources within the EC and it relies entirely on national news channels for national-level information. It also pointed out that timing of the news flash on their channel following Times Now established the same.

The EC Tuesday set up a Committee of Officers to probe how BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya and Karnataka Congress social media head Srivasta had tweeted the poll dates before the formal announcement. While both had correctly tweeted the date of the Karnataka election as 12 May, the date of counting was wrongly tweeted as 18 May instead of 15 May.

The tweets, which came several minutes before Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat announced the dates, sparked an uproar over how the two had managed to acquire information beforehand.

The EC committee is still examining if there was an institutional failure that may have led to the leak.

Malviya had submitted a statement to the EC Tuesday saying his tweet was based on the news flash by Times Now, while Srivatsa is learnt to have also made a similar submission to the EC Wednesday, saying his tweet was based on a TV news flash.

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